Princess Jesse Defends Title In Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap
Princess Jesse, under jockey Alfredo Sigala, drives to victory in the 18th running of the Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Stakes(RG2) at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino Saturday.

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Princess Jesse Defends Title In Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap

SUNLAND PARK, NM—DECEMBER 30, 2017—In just her fifth start this year, Princess Jesse returned to Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino Saturday to defend her title in the $85,000 Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap(RG2).

A daughter of leading New Mexico sire Jesse James Jr, Princess Jesse defeated Straw Fly Flower by three/quarters to get her ninth career win. Posttime favorite Running Dragon (7/5) and Carson City Girl finished a neck back in a dead-heat for third.

In a sharp effort under jockey Alfredo Sigala, Princess Jesse completed the 400 yards in :19.403, earning a 92-speed index. Trainer Vance Mikkelson conditions the sorrel filly for owner Mikkelson Racing LLC.

One-year ago at Sunland Park Princess Jesse defeated AQHA Racing Champion Astica by a nose in the Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap(RG2). She has also won the Zia Handicap(RG2), Sunburst Stakes(RG3) and New Mexico State Fair Breeders' Derby.

The winning connections of Princess Jesse accept the Lou Wooten and Sydney Valentini Handicap stakes trophy Saturday afternoon at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino.
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Bred by Vance Mikkelson from the Dean Miracle mare Total Miracle, the New Mexico-bred filly has compiled an (18) 9-4-3 record and used todays winners' purse worth $52,000 to boost her bankroll to $391,415.

Straw Fly Flower, under jockey Santiago Martinez, rewarded her backers with a whopping $27.40 return on a $2 place ticket. Rene Saucedo saddled the daughter of Dashair for owner Bertha Irigoyen. Two races back the 4-year-old won for a $10,000-tag at Zia Park. Bred by Brad Williams, from the Walk Thru Fire mare Strawflinfire, Straw Fly Flower picked up $17,000 to push her bankroll to $67,798.

Multiple graded winners Running Dragon and Carson City Girl split $12,750 for their third-place deadheat.

Hoping to rebound from her first loss at Sunland Park when she hopped at the start in the Jess Burner Memorial Handicap December 16, Running Dragon put in a bid early under jockey Adrian Ramos. Juan Gonzalez conditions the gray 4-year-old for owner/breeder By By JJ LLC. The daughter of last year's leading first-crop sire Zulu Dragon is out of Banking Lane by Devon Lane (TB). She has compiled a (19) 11-2-2 record and earned $702,217.

Also, a multiple stakes winner, Carson City Girl races for owners David and Sandra Barrett. MJ Farms bred the Woodbridge earner of nearly $335,000 from the Hidden City (TB) mare Racetrack Barbie (TB). Esgar Ramirez was riding for trainer Fred Danley.

Completing the field were Princess Jessie Jane, First Vegas Moon, Lady Version, First Moon Fire and Sixie Won. Buildem Fast was scratched.

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2016 AQHA Racing World Champion Jessies First Down returns to defend his title in Sunday’s $350,000 Championship (G1) at Sunland Park (11th race). The $200,000 Sunland Park Winter Juvenile Championship at 400 yards is the 10th race.

The 9th race is the 26th running of the $65,000 Bold Ego Handicap for fillies and mares racing five and one-half furlongs. The 8th race is the $85,000 Four Rivers/John Deere Stakes at 6 furlongs.

Post time is 12:30 p.m.